Egypt’s minority Christian community is increasingly under attack from the majority Muslim population.
“We are at a breaking point,” Bishop Makarios, a Christian leader in northern Egypt told The New York Times. “People can’t put up with any more of this.”
Since the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and the election of an Islamist party to power, violence against Egypt’s Christian community has surged.
When elements of Egypt’s military seized power from the democratically elected Islamist government in 2013, the Christian community heavily supported the coup. Local violence by angry supporters of the democratically elected government have since conducted nearly 300 attacks on the Christian community.
Christian leaders report having their houses burned down and churches constantly vandalized with graffiti. In one case in May, an elderly Christian woman was stripped naked and paraded through the town on accusations that her son was conducting an affair with a Muslim. Nearly 300 muslim men participated in the mob, and also burned down seven homes belonging to local Christians in retaliation.
“After that woman was stripped, we couldn’t be quiet, not after that,” Makarios said. He elaborated that local “officials came out denying the incident,” in order to play down the event in media reports. “Had they apologized or said they would follow it up, it would be different, but this was an insult to Egypt and the women of Egypt,” Makarios continued.
Makario’s comments also come after the Egyptian government appointed a Muslim cleric to oversee relations between the Christian and Muslim community. The appointed cleric, however, insisted to The New York Times that “Everything is good” between Christians and Muslims.
“No one has even been wounded. There’s no conflict. The problem is really with the journalists writing about it,” the cleric continued.
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